Baldy Bike’n'Hike

July 1st, 2009

Baldy Mountain from somewhere up Sypes

Sypes canyon trailThe other day I rode up Sypes Canyon on my mountain bike. It’s a fun out-and-back ride just outside of Bozeman, on the West side of the Bridgers. I recommend it if you are short on time and need a punishing hill climb. Like most trails (except the new Leveritch one) you just need to be careful of hikers on the downhill. Once you hit the first ridge there are fantastic views of Bozeman, too. Great little ride.

At the “top” of the ride you hit the perpendicular “Bridger Mountain Trail No. 534″. I’m pretty sure it links up with the “M” and other Bridger trails, but I’m not positive since I always turn around and head back down. A third, smaller branch of the trail continues heading straight up the hill too steeply to ride, pointing right towards Baldy Mountain. After reaching this junction I decided I wasn’t really that tired and since I’d never been up on top of Baldy my decision to ditch the bike and continue on foot was fast and easy.

Rain over Bozeman and the Gallatin ValleyThe trail, however, is not fast and easy. It’s fun, but whatever crazy trail I was on clearly was not an “approved” one. Some places it was almost too steep and washed out to walk up. Eventually it joined up with a more used (and sane) trail, which I assume is the way most folks climb Baldy.

By the time I got to top the afternoon thundershowers were looking very threatening, so I signed the log book and turned right around. According to the Internet the summit log on the big bald “top” of Baldy is not actually the top, but, whatever. When I finally get around the hiking the entire Ridge I’ll bag the official summit. An hour of so after I left my bike I had returned to it and then got to enjoy the best part of Bike’n'Hike combos - ripping effortlessly downhill back to the car!

Baldy Mountain "summit"

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